"How long have you known Him?" asked the lovely woman as she waited patiently by the counter. "Known who?" I asked myself. Was she speaking of Jesus? Was she about to sell me something is didn't need just as moments earlier a young guy had tried to pitch me a sales opportunity that will make me a lot of extra cash outside of my "regular" job? After all, she did have a set of rolling luggage standing next to her. Could they be filled to Bibles, Gospel Tracts and tales of salvation? "Known who?" I sheepishly asked. The answer was Domenico De Marco, the proprietor and master of Di Fara Pizza in Midwood section of Brooklyn. And she, a devout monthly pilgrim from Queens about to devour her trinity of triangular slices. Shamefully I acknowledged that since moving to Brooklyn in 1985 I had never made the journey myself.
Like the other faithful, Sweetu, Brian and one and a half year old Oliver patiently waited for our order to be answered. And answered it was. Square, hot and covering in crispy peperoni. Brian has a theory that everyone wants to be healthy when ordering pizza, but ultimately, even professed vegetarians will devour the pepperoni before all other offerings. Although I have read many reviews telling me that the place has lost its worthiness and appeal, I would have to disagree with those doubters and cynics. Although the saying, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" has fallen upon deaf ears at Di Fara, there was nothing to distract me from enjoying the experience of watching Domenico create a pie. To watch him applying the chunky and perfectly balanced tomato sauce, individually hand grating the mozzarella di bufala, fior di latte and Grana Padano cheese, adding olive oil to the tray of the Sicilian rectangles to crisp the crust is pure devotion. Even the final cutting of the fresh basil with yes, gummed up scissors, was a labor of love, and a testament to joy.
As proof of our baptism by oven, I give you our empty plate and the promise of a second coming.